Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Yinying Wang, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Kristina Brezicha, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Rumbaugh, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which principals who exhibit destructive leadership behaviors also exhibit instructional leadership behaviors as perceived by teachers. This study focused on two research questions: a) To what extent do principals who exhibit destructive leadership behaviors also exhibit instructional leadership behaviors? b) Which instructional leadership behaviors are more common in principals who also exhibit destructive leadership behaviors?

Theoretical framework: This study was theoretically grounded in instructional leadership and destructive leadership. Instructional leadership involves establishing school goals; managing curriculum, instruction, and assessment; developing systems of accountability; and promoting a positive school climate. Destructive leadership involves abusive supervision, bullying, narcissism, laissez faire leadership, and toxic leadership.

Methods: In this quantitative study, 163 current K-12 public school teachers in the U.S. completed an online survey that included 25 items to measure principals’ destructive leadership and 20 items to measure instructional leadership. Data analysis included a correlational analysis to determine correlations between the dimensions of instructional leadership and the dimensions of destructive leadership and an analysis of variance to determine which dimensions of instructional leadership occur more often in principals who exhibit destructive leadership behaviors.

Results: A negative correlation was found between destructive leadership and instructional leadership. The strongest correlation was between promoting a positive school climate and laissez faire leadership, and the weakest correlation was between developing systems of accountability and abusive supervision. Although a comparative analysis of frequencies by dimensions revealed a principal could display instructional and destructive leadership simultaneously, it was counterproductive for instructional leaders to exercise destructive leadership.

Implications: This study for the first time investigated what instructional leadership should not include. Theoretically, the findings draw attention to the co-existence of destructive leadership and instructional leadership. This study also has implications for practitioners and policymakers. By better understanding the difference between destructive and instructional leadership and the extent to which principals can display both types of behaviors, they can help reduce the incidence of teachers’ exposure to destructive leadership behaviors. This could decrease teachers’ stress, increase their job satisfaction, and decrease teacher turnover.


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